I have never understood people that order fruit for dessert. I like fruit well enough, but if the options are chocolate cake or mixed berries, you know that I will always pick the cake. I don’t even like when a restaurant tries to put fruit on my chocolate cake. The berry garnish will sit there untouched and please put the coulis back in the kitchen. Leave my chocolate alone thankyouverymuch. I tell you this about myself because if you served me this dessert and I had never tasted it before, I would be incredibly disappointed. It is like when I watch Barefoot Contessa (I love me some Ina, but sometimes I question her judgment) and Ina serves dried fruit for dessert. If I were a dinner guest, I would leave sad and disillusioned. I know that she can whip up a mean Beatty’s Chocolate Cake or a Coconut concoction. Dried fruit is not dessert. Dried fruit is punishment if you ask me. It is like I was a badly behaved dinner guest. She even says that people are not going to remember what you serve for dinner, but they will always remember dessert. I say this because this Poached Peaches with Raspberries changed my opinion on two things. Fruit desserts and peaches.
I thought that I did not like the peach. I have a thing about texture and peaches can fall into that mushy fruit category. Maybe I got lucky when I made this and had perfect peaches. Not mushy at all, not even when poached. I have fallen in love with this peach dessert. It falls into some of my favorite dessert categories. Easy to make? Yes. Make ahead? Yes. A little bit different? Yes. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.
I found this recipe in Martha Stewart Living and ripped out the page (it is the issue with the mini pies on the cover) because the picture of the peaches was so gorgeous. The entire peach article is gorgeous. I want to live at that peach growers house, it is that beautiful. What I failed to rip out was the recipe. Oops. The other day, I was walking through Safeway (buying replacement ingredients because I burnt a cheesecake badly that I was supposed to take to a party. Uh-oh.) and saw the MSL and grabbed it to see what was in the poached peaches. Why I did not buy the magazine again I do not know. I figured that if I had the title of the recipe that I could find it online. No go. I did write down the ingredients while standing in the magazine aisle of Safeway while people were walking past me thinking that I was a crazy woman. I found the most gorgeous peaches and made this and will never snub my nose at a peach again.
The poaching liquid is so divine that I need to make something else out of it. Maybe pour it over seltzer water and some more wine? Do not mind if I do.
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar (I used vanilla sugar so you will see vanilla beans in the pictures, but regular sugar is just fine)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon stick snapped in half
the zest of one lemon (I used a vegetable peeler and got big strips)
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
6 ounces raspberries
Put all of the ingredients except the peaches and raspberries into a large pot.
Halve the peaches and remove the pit.
Add the peaches and bring the pot to a boil.
Cover the pot with parchment paper and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the peaches in the poaching liquid for 7-10 minutes (this depends on the peaches. I checked mine every few minutes and pulled them when I could get a knife through them with no resistance, but they were not completely mushy.)
Take the peaches out of the cooking liquid.
Add half of the raspberries to the cooked peaches.
Add the remaining raspberries to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the cooking liquid to about half.
Strain the poaching liquid.
Pour the glorious poaching liquid over the peaches and raspberries.
These are perfect just like this. But they would be pretty tasty in your morning cereal, oatmeal or on top of a waffle or pancake. Vanilla ice cream? Yes please.
Sliced on top of a piece of pound cake or angel food cake? If you must.
Or with a dollop of whipped cream on the side. If I were a peach this is how I would want to go.